July 12, 2018

Tsinghua's Approach to Military-Civil Fusion in Artificial Intelligence

By Elsa B. Kania

What does military-civil fusion (军民融合) in AI look like in action? I’ve translated an article by a vice president of Tsinghua University, often characterized as "China's MIT," which describes its commitment to supporting China’s national strategy for military-civil fusion, while advancing an "AI superpower strategy" (人工智能强国战略).

The Road of Military-Civil Fusion for Artificial Intelligence Development
You Zheng (尤政), Vice President of Tsinghua University
June 8, 2018

At present, artificial intelligence (AI) is a strategic technology that will lead the future and is also one of the fastest growing fields of technology today. The development of AI will have a major and even disruptive impact on social and economic development and on people’s lives and production. Colleges and universities are points linking the first productive forces for science and technology, the first resources for human talent, and the first impetus for innovation. In the process of implementing an AI superpower strategy (人工智能强国战略), (we) should fully give play to our advantages in personnel cultivation and in science and technology research.

Tsinghua University is one of the earliest units to systematically undertake research on AI technologies. In 1978, the Department of Computer Science established the “Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Control” teaching and research group, and recruited the first batch of artificial intelligence master students. Tsinghua University has a number of AI research bases, including the State Key Laboratory of Intelligent Technology and Systems (智能技术与系统”国家重点实验室) established in 1990 and the Intelligent Microsystems Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of the (智能微系统教育部重点实验室), and several AI teams. Take the team of academician Zhang Bo (张钹) as an example; they have achieved globally influential results in the field of general AI (通用人工智能) as represented by natural language understanding. This team undertook the “AI Theories and Crux Technologies for Future Human-Machine Cooperative (Combat) Operations” (“面向未来人机协同作战的人工智能理论与关键技术) project with total funding of over 100 million RMB [about $15 million] from the CMC Science and Technology Commission National Defense Frontier Innovation Special Zone (国防前沿创新特区). Their research results in Bayesian memory learning theories and methods have attracted great attention in the field of international AI. (They) advanced the achievement of innovative results deep learning adversarial attack and defense (对抗性攻防) theories and algorithms for AI safety/security, winning all three championships in an international competition convened by Google. The team member, associate professor Zhu Jun (朱军), was selected among the MIT Technology Review’s “35 Innovators under 35” in China, and chosen by IEEE Intelligent Systems for “AI’s 10 to Watch.” It can be said that Tsinghua University possesses a very good foundation and accumulation (of research) in the field of AI, and with regard to serving the AI superpower strategy, is duty bound.

Read the Full Article at Battlefield Singularity

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